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"Disruptive changes" such as slowing electric load growth, falling peak-load power prices due to demand response mechanisms and expanding distributive generation are challenging power producers in the US. "We as an industry have to meet the challenge and embrace these trends. If we don't, they are going to run over us," says Jon Wellinghoff, chairman, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

Tuesday, 11 December 2012 / Markets

GE bets on 25-year gas super-cycle

GE is betting on a 25-year super-cycle of natural gas generation, underpinned by cheap shale gas supply, hence the company heavily invests to increase this side of the business, says Paul Browning, President and CEO of Thermal Products, GE Power & Water.

Improved combustion technology at Alstom's GT 26 gas turbine can cope with an expanding range of fuel compositions while maintaining emissions and reliability, says Alexander Bill, Service Manager at Alstom's Power Division.

Doors are opening to POWER-GEN International at the Orange County Convention Centre in Orlando, Florida, today. More than 20,000 attendees are expected to visit the exhibition and attend conference sessions.

OMV, Austria's largest utility, is ready to take financial investment decision (FID) for building a gas-fired power plant in Bavaria, provided capacity markets are introduced to guarantee a stable rate of return.

The U.S. Department of Energy's Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA-E) will grant Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne funding worth $5 million for three cost-sharing projects set to improve efficiency and reduce costs of gas turbines in commercial-scale power plants.

Coal generation will regain ground from gas in the US power sector in the coming year leaving less coal available for export to Europe and Asia, investment bank Barclays Capital forecast.

Flexible rather than conventional gas generation could save Britain between £380 million to £550 million by 2020 and up to £1.54 billion by 2030 alone through reduced balancing costs incurred by National Grid, research commissioned by Wärtsilä through Redpoint Energy and Imperial College London shows. The modelling is based on replacing 4.8GW of conventional CCGTs with 4.8GW of gas-fired Smart Power Generation.

The launch of capacity markets may come too late, the Department of Energy and Climate Change (Decc) has acknowledged, and decreasing generation margins are threatening Europe's energy trading market. "Decc may well find that once they intervene, find they have to intervene again which causes the risk that we will go back to a regulated energy market," says Jim Fitzgerald, associate partner at The Advisory House.

E.ON, Germany's largest utility by market value, will take legal action before December 20 against Germany's energy regulator BNA over compensation levels for power plant re-dispatch, it confirmed today.

A 'dash for gas' scenario, unveiled by UK Chancellor George Osborne as part of the Gas Generation Strategy, may threaten the country's climate targets, critics warn. As one of three proposed scenarios, the 'dash for gas' case calls for 37 GW of new gas-fired power plant capacity, or up to 40 plants, by 2030 and implies a rewrite of a draft law that sets out Britain's carbon emissions reduction goals by the mid-2020s.

Prospects of a carbon floor price, introduced as part of the UK Electricity Market Reform (EMR), could render coal uneconomic compared with gas generation which may led to plant closures, says David Brewer, director general of the confederation of UK Coal Producers (CoalPro).

News in Brief

Supercapcitors to replace batteries

Sept 25 – The global market for supercapacitors was valued at over $487 million last year and is forecast to top $1,570 millio by 2025, growing at an annual rate of 21.8%. Supercapacitor, an emerging technology for energy storage systems, can offer higher power density than batteries was may soon replace the latter.

Atos, Siemens expand digital partnership

Sept 24 – Atos, a global leader in digital transformation, has expanded its strategic partnership with Siemens AG for five years, helping the latter with data driven digital, cloud transformation and cybersecurity. The extension comes in the context of 5-year total €3 billion agreements which were separately signed with Siemens AG, Siemens Energy and Siemens Healthineers.

Rotterdam Port to store CO2 beneath the North Sea

Sept 23 – The Porthos project, a joint venture between the Port of Rotterdam Authority, Gasunie and EBN, seeks to transport CO2 from industry in the port to empty gas fields beneath the North Sea. In its early years, the Carbon Capture Utilisation and Storage (CCUS) will be able to store approximately 2.5 million tonnes of CO2 per year with plans to be operational by 2024.

German power sector to reach net zero in 2040s

Sept 22 – Revisions to Germany’s Renewable Energy Act (EEG) stipulate the power sector should become greenhouse-gas neutral in the early 2040s. Despite the gradual electrification of heating and transport, the German energy ministry is so far sticking to its estimate of 580 terawatt-hours (TWh) of power consumption in 2030 – close to current levels.

B&W to supply superheaters to Lumiant

Sept 21 – Babcock & Wilcox’s thermal segment has been contracted to design, manufacture and supply new superheater components for a high-efficiency boiler at Luminant’s Oak Grove Power Plant near Franklin, Texas. Material delivery to Oak Grove is scheduled for February 2021.

EC targets 55% emission cut by 2030

Sept 17 – The European Commission’s latest 2030 Target Plan stipulates a 55% cut in emissions by 2030, compared to 1990-levels. The lobby group COGEN Europe stressed the importance of combined heat and power generation (CHP) to reach that goal, calling for more stable policies and supportive regulation.

Rolls-Royce may sell ITP Areo

Sept 17 – Britain’s prime manufacturer Rolls-Royce confirmed it is looking to strengthen its balance sheet, possibly by disposing of ITP Aero which his hoped to generate proceeds of more than £2bn over the next 18 months. Further cost cutting is meant to deliver £1 billion and revamping of the company’s Civil Areospace business should save another £1.3 billion.

China’s GDP may grow 1.8%

Sept 16 – China’s GDP is forecast to grow 1.8% this year as the economy recovers from the Covid-19 pandemic. The government slashed electricity tariffs to support manufacturing but the Asian Development Bank (ADB) warns of mounting credit risk for banks. Fiscal revenue pressure also intensifies as 1.5% of China’s GDP growth in the first half of 2020 was based on bond-funded investment by local governments.

Zeebrugge goes for green hydrogen

Sept 15 – Colruyt Group (Eoly), Parkwind and Fluxys aim to spend up to 35 million Euros to develop a green hydrogen plant in Zeebrugge, Belgium, by 2023. The plan is to convert off-shore wind energy into green hydrogen which can then be injected in the high-pressure natural gas transmission grid.

Shale gas market to top $41bn

Sept 14 – Global markets for unconventional gas, mostly developed by shale fracking, is forecast to grow at an annual rate of 7% to reach $ 41.76 billion by 2024. According to Technavio, the Americas region will remain dominant with an 87% market share as hydraulic fracturing technologies evolve. Top players in the market are BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mobil, PetroChina, Gazprom, Shell, Santos, Saudi Arabian Oil Co., and YPF.

SNAM, Saipem join forces on hydrogen

Sept 11 – Two Italian energy companies, SNAM and Saipem, have agreed to develop initiatives for green hydrogen production and transport, as well as for carbon dioxide capture, transport and reuse or storage (CCRS). The move supports the European Commission’s Hydrogen Strategy to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.

MAN, Wasco to drive Power-to-Gas Tech in Asia

Sept 10 – MAN Energy Solutions and Wasco have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to promote and commercialize Power-to-X (PtX) projects in South-East Asia. The technology in question converts electricity into carbon-neutral synthetic fuels, gas or liquid, for use as a clean, carbon-neutral energy source.

Romgaz, GSP to realise 200 MW gas and solar project

Sept 9 – Romania’s state gas company Romgaz has agreed to build 200 MW power generation capacity with the privately-owned Grup Servicii Petroliere (GSP) which is controlled by the local businessman Gabriel Comanescu. The project entails a 150 MW gas-fired power plant and a 50 MW solar photovoltaic park, to be built on the site of a disused coal power plant in southern Romania.

Alaska uses twice as much energy for transport as NY

Sept 8 – More energy is used per person for transportation in U.S. states with low population density. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA), people in geographically large states with small populations, such as Alaska, Wyoming and North Dakota, are useing twice as much energy for transportation than the U.S. average on a per capita basis. That’s in stark contrast to states with higher population density, such as Rhode Island and New York.

Hydrogen Council launched in Kobe/Kansai area

Sept 7 – Mitsubishi Power, part of MHI, and various Japanese energy companies have set up the so-called ‘Kobe/Kansai Hydrogen Utilization Council’ to develop new utilization methods and establish a regional hydrogen supply chain. The aim is to help Japan shift to a carbon-free, hydrogen-powered society by 2030.

B&W sets up Asia-Pacific HQ in Perth

Sept 4 – Babcock & Wilcox (B&W) has setup new Asia-Pacific headquarters in Perth, Australia, and named Nick Carter as managing director of the region. Headquartered in Akron, Ohio, the engineering company is also establishing or expanding operations in Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, China and India.

Germany boosts RES targets

Sept 3 – Striving to meet 2030 emission targets, the Germany government is increasing its renewable energy targets while adjusting the grid to accommodate a greater influx of fluctuating power supply. The draft reform of the Renewable Energy Act (EEG) stipulates raising the solar photovoltaic capacity to 100 GW (up from 52 GW today), onshore wind capacity to 71 GW (from 55 GW), offshore wind to 20 GW and biomass to 8.4 GW.

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